Who was the first person to wear pajamas? What did people sleep with before this garment appeared?

Currently 70% of people sleep in pajamas (in all its versions) and 15% say they usually sleep naked. The rest sleep in their underwear.

Pajamas have become an essential garment today, and although it seems incredible; little has changed since its origin in Persia hundreds of years ago.

It consisted of a loose camisole; sometimes also cinched at the waist, generally made of flannel and light cotton similar to this one from the thirteenth century.

Nightdress S. XIII


And just like in our days, it was not only used to sleep, but also to work at home or rest. Would the Persians also do telework?

The word pajamas (English) was taken from Hindustani by the English settlers in 1800 pay-jama (leg garment) which has its origin in Persian.

In the 15th century there is already evidence of this garment in the Western world, used by men and women of wealthy families and that were made of wool to give heat, because central heating did not yet exist and some of the incredible properties were already known of wool.

Sind Woman 1870

Men in Pajamas 1867


It was not until three centuries later that men’s and women’s pajamas began to be different, and of course; the female version was fitted at the waist and adorned with embroidery and velvet.

The question is; How has this garment so common in our days come to us?

These British colonists adopted the garment and the word in India; between the 18th and 19th centuries, and later; during the Victorian era it reached the rest of the western world. It was at this time that it became fashionable in Britain in the 1870s, leaving a legacy of garments with wonderful details, which can be seen in the best textile museums in the world.

Women’s nightdresses

XIX century


The pajamas meant a great advance, since it kept the legs warm and it was very comfortable to sleep, but be careful; only for men. The women wore beautiful ankle-length nightgowns, and trouser pajamas would arrive for them a few centuries later.

It wouldn’t be until the 1920s; what Coco Chanel would make it fashionable and several women from the wealthiest classes of Paris would pose with this unthinkable garment for the time; how to wear pants or smoke.

Coco Chanel


In the 30s; the cinema helped make this garment popular by showing men; and rarely to women, wearing this garment. The exception is found in the 1934 film “It happened one night” by Frank Capra.

Claudette Colbert


From the 50s it went from being an exclusive garment of the upper classes and its use would become generalized by all social classes of the time.

Nightgowns and pajamas 50s and 60s


Hollywood contributed to the normalization of this garment among men; showing such well-known actors as Rock Hudson, Paul Newman or Gary Cooper in “The Secret of Living”, wearing pajamas.

Men’s 50s Camisoles & Pajamas


And to this day they have come with the same success and versatility, even becoming fashionable to go out on the street. It was in 1970 with the YSL Rive Gauche collection that pajamas took to the streets to offer comfort and elegance in equal measure.

YSL Rive Gauche


After the record of hours that we have broken this year while at home, it may have been the star garment of 2020 and it will surely continue with us for many more years …

In Pirilana what we do know is the perfect formula to rest deeply: Pajamas + Duvet + Pillow x Merino wool = Deep sleep

Merino wool, cotton, silk, linen … what is your favorite pajamas?

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